Vultee V1a Continued...

The country, then in the depths of a financial depression, could not find expenditures for investment in a commercial airliner - - no matter how advanced the engineering was. Searching for financial backing to make their product a reality, Vance Breese left for the West Coast. Sources were no more receptive there either until a contact was made with E.L. Cord, President of the Cord Automobile Company. Cord, living in Los Angeles, reviewed the material presented by Breese and expressed the desire to use the machines in his Century Airlines. Before the aircraft could be produced however, Cord was forced to sell the airline due to labour disputes in early 1933.

The New Shannon Air Museum welcomes the return of 12 iconic aircraft to Fredericksburg’s historic ShannonAirport. Over the next several months, the planes from the original Shannon Collection will make their homecoming to the newly revitalized museum.


The historic collection was assembled by Sidney L. Shannon Jr., aircraft enthusiast and Spotsylvania County native. Shannon Jr. acquired and restored the planes before establishing the museum in June 1976, in honor of his father and aviation pioneer, Sidney L. Shannon Sr. The museum housed the aircraft and thousands of related artifacts prior to its public closure in October 1985.

After the Shannon Air Museum closure, the priceless collection of aircraft made their way to the Virginia Aviation Museum in Richmond. The 12 planes were displayed for three decades in the recently closed museum and will now make the journey back home to reside in the New Shannon Air Museum, which will reopen to the public in spring 2017.

“To have the collection move back to its home where it originated, will be a great thing for the aviation community,” said Luke Curtas, Owner of Shannon Airport. “Our goal at the New Shannon Air Museum is to promote aviation history where people can enjoy and possibly become a part of it. Just imagine, you could walk, drive, or even fly-in to visit a museum that immerses you in the past and prepares you for the future.”

The Shannon Collection boasts rare aircraft including the only known surviving Vultee V-1A, the SPAD VII prized fighter from World War I, the Pitcairn PA-5 Mailwing and the Bellanca CH-400 Skyrocket. The complete collection will be displayed in the recently renovated hangar that originally housed the planes, amongst incomparable memorabilia, original artifacts and artwork of the aircraft that celebrate the rich history of flight.